Back in September 2010, students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee were informed that the group that owns the student radio station, WRVU, was investigating selling off the station’s license and transmitter. The non-profit which controls WRVU, Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC), has stated that they are seeking input about the possible station sale, but they have yet to make an official announcement about the future of the station. Some interesting perspective on the proposed sale can be found in a February 28 letter (and in the comments attached to that letter) in the Vanderbilt Hustler from the student members of the VSC Board. According to the letter:
“WRVU, like…all other student media operations at Vanderbilt, is owned and operated by Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc. VSC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, separate from the university. An eight-person board of directors, consisting of five students and three faculty members, controls the organization. Our funding comes from two main sources: Hustler advertising revenue and a portion of the student activity fees you pay each year.
If the 91.1 FM license, which is held and overseen by the VSC board of directors, is sold, revenue from the sale would be used to create an endowment. Interest accrued from the endowment would be used to support student media operating expenses in the future. WRVU would not go away if the FM license were sold; rather, an endowment would provide the station with the resources necessary to thrive in a changing media landscape…
Whatever our decision on the future of WRVU’s FM broadcasts may be, it will be made by a board controlled by students, with the intent of creating the best possible future for student media at Vanderbilt. As always, we are committed to looking out for both the students who consume our products and the students who create them.”
WRVU supporters have been working to build awareness around the situation at their station and their efforts can be found at the Save WRVU website. They are encouraging listeners to write letters to not only the VSC Board, but also to members of the administration and student government at Vanderbilt University. Over the weekend the Save WRVU crew was out at Grimey’s Records in Nashville for Record Store Day and was able to garner support from Chuck D of Public Enemy fame.
The final VSC Board Meeting of the year will be held tomorrow, Wednesday April 20; so the folks at the group WRVU Friends and Family are encouraging WRVU supporters (particularly Vanderbilt alumni) to write letters opposing the WRVU sale in advance of that meeting. Letters emailed to WRVU Friends and Family at wrvualum AT NOLO dot TV by 12 noon on Wednesday (Central time) will be printed and hand-delivered to the VSC Board. A list of other suggested recipients can be found here.
If you care about college radio, this is an important time to show support for WRVU, particularly in light of the recent sale of KTRU at Rice University and the pending sale of KUSF at University of San Francisco.
All Radio Survivor articles about WRVU can be found here.